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A Basic Drum Brake How-To

Posted in How To on March 1, 2010
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There are two things that I distinctly remember my dad teaching me how to do: changing the oil and performing a brake job. There weren't too many things cooler for a young boy than sitting next to him, handing him tools and soaking up the info on how to work on cars and trucks.

I prefer to have someone else change the engine oil now, but I still do my own brake jobs. For less than $50 at your local parts store and an afternoon, you keep a pair of drum brakes up to par. While drum brakes are going the way of the dodo bird, we thought it might be handy to show you how to replace the brake shoes and hardware in a drum brake system.

We chose a rear Dana 60 for this article. This full-floating axle is one of the most difficult to service drum brakes on because the axleshaft must be unbolted and removed, then the drum actually rides on bearings on a spindle, supporting the weight of the vehicle. You may want to replace the seals and wheel bearings while you're there, but we're only showing the brakes in this article. You have to disassemble all of this just to get the brakes. Even so, this is one of the maintenance items you can do on just about any 4x4. And maybe you can even share the time and knowledge with a future generation.

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